Personal sharing of testimonies, praise, and prayer concerns can add a great deal to the quality of the meeting. It can encourage a sense of unity, participation, and personal growth. We can learn much from one another’s experiences and be mutually built up in our faith.
However, we have probably all been through sharing times where the above has not been true. One person can dominate the time with long rambling stories. Sometimes long periods of silence characterize open times of sharing. Some sharing sessions can be fragmented, dull, tedious, and frustrating.
Here are some suggestions to make sharing times work for you:
(Determine before your meeting which of these might contribute to your fellowship. Give individuals adequate time to prepare.)
1. Ask someone well in advance to share their testimony or spiritual journey at a particular meeting. Give them a time limit and ask them to write it out and practice it.
2. Ask someone to share an experience they had which relates to the theme of a meeting.
3. Ask several people to briefly share on a topic (e.g., “What do you do during your quiet time?”)
4. Ask small group leaders if someone in their group would like to share how God’s graciousness has been evident to them recently.
5. Have a new Christian share how she/he became a Christian.
(Person leading the meeting directs the focus/flow)
1. Ask people to respond to a specific question (e.g., which of God’s attributes has been most prominent in your mind recently and why?), give them time to think, ask them to write it down, then ask several to share what they have written.
2. Scripture sharing: read or recite a passage of Scripture that has been especially meaningful in your life.
3. Sing a hymn and ask people to comment on what that hymn means to them.
1. Request people to share any blessing, prayer concerns, admonitions, Scripture, songs, or experiences that God’s Spirit directs them to share.
2. Lead in prayer that the Holy Spirit would direct this time so that people would know when to speak, what to say, and what not to say.
3. Give guidelines:
a. speak loudly enough for all to hear
b. be brief so that many can share
c. keep your sharing Christ-centered to call our
attention to him
4. Perhaps open with an appropriate song or Scripture passage.
5. Sit down and wait (don’t keep talking to fill space).
6. Close off the sharing time before it begins to drag.